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Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Minutes
Monday, November 17, 2008

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

 

STUDY SESSION
MINUTES

 

November 17, 2008

 

ATTENDANCE

Present:         Commissioners Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Noraas, Rosenthal; Director Robertson; Superintendents Gies and Teige

Absent:       City Council Liaison Navickas

CALL TO ORDER

Gardiner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer. He addressed a recent speculation about the potential liquidation of golf course land for affordable housing and said the matter lacked validity and was not included in the evening’s agenda.

RECREATION MASTER PLAN PRESENTATION

Robertson introduced professional parks and recreation planner Sally McIntyre of MIG and invited her to speak to the commission.

Sally McIntyre said parks and recreation master plans serve as roadmaps, providing direction to parks and recreation staff and boards. She said MIG master plans focus on human development, sustainability, and economic development. Typical master planning goals were identified as building a customized and realistic plan for the future, involving a wide range of citizens in the process, and building a constituency for parks and recreation. McIntyre emphasized the importance of including community members of all ages and abilities in the process. She said advisory committees could oversee the project and represent community interests. She recommended soliciting public input through mail-out and telephone surveys, online recreation questionnaires, and focus groups targeting specific community interests. She suggested hosting workshops and open houses to collect additional information. She said master plans range in cost from $35,000 to 100,000, depending on the level of detail, and require 12-18 months to complete.

McIntyre offered to develop a scope of work to help the commission decide whether to move forward. Commissioners provided McIntyre with positive feedback and thanked her for her time.

FEES AND CHARGES REVIEW – GOLF COURSE AND CALLE

Robertson said the commission would review fees and charges for the third consecutive year and the four-month process would include a review of all aspects of the recreation system.

Oak Knoll Golf Course

Teige reviewed Oak Knoll Golf Course revenues and expenditures. She said revenues were generated from green fees, power cart rentals, driving range fees, monthly specials, and annual passes (single and family). She said the commission approved a 10% increase in annual passes in February 2008 as well as increases in summer daily fees, senior fees, and summer cart fees, along with an increase in the senior age to 55, all implemented on April 1, 2008. She said labor costs went up in ’07-’08 while rounds went down. Teige reported that ‘07-‘08 revenues were $301,819.39 and expenditures were $361,824.55, bringing the total subsidized to $60,005.16, an 83% recovery rate.

Teige said Oak Knoll fees were comparable to other area courses and recommended no further increases in the next year.

Public Input

Jerry Hauck, 847 Garden Way, President of the Oak Knoll Golf Course Men’s Club, asked about the number of annual passes sold last year versus this year. He said every unsold pass represented $1,000 lost. He said the course lacked proper road signage and asked about efforts toward marketing the course. He requested a status report on recent capital improvement projects and offered the assistance of the Men’s Club toward further improvement projects.

Brett DeForest, 454 Briscoe Place, said Oak Knoll was one of the most affordable courses in the valley. He said a reduction in the price of an annual would generate more rounds of golf played. He suggested increasing the visibility of the course within the community by hiring a professional manager to run the course. He said the course improved over the last few years and encouraged the commission to consider other ways to increase golf course usage.

Joanne Johns, 790 Acorn Circle, reported hearing about the potential sale of golf course land for affordable housing and said it was a fear shared by neighbors in the area. She spoke favorably of the improvements at the course and asked the commission to retain the $5 rate for juniors. She said the golf course superintendent was doing a fine job of maintaining the course and spoke favorably of the commission’s decision to allow a cross country team to use the course for a fall meet.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners asked about costs for promotions and advertising over the past two years and were told they ranged from $10,000 to 12,000 per year. Eggers suggested offering a discount to golfers who brought new golfers to the course. Noraas spoke favorably about offering the course for the cross country meet and said she liked hearing that the course was used for sledding. She proposed enhancing the amenity for a broader range of community members.

Calle Guanajuato

Teige said the Calle walkway was used by the artisans market and for restaurant seating from May through October. She reviewed her handout, stating that the market generated $6,913.50 in revenues in the past year while restaurant seating generated $5,981.50, bringing total revenues to $12,895. She said the commission approved, in February 2008, an increase in the rate of square footage from $3.10 to $3.30 and she recommended a further increase to $3.60 per square foot, estimated to bring in an additional $800-1,000 in the coming year. She reported that maintenance, materials, and labor costs totaled $10,692 and said the program was self-sustaining, with any surplus revenues placed into the Capital Improvement Fund for future improvements.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Gardiner said the Calle required repaving within the next ten years, with an estimated cost of $100,000. He suggested developing a repaving plan utilizing assistance from its primary users. Robertson reported that two new restaurants planned to open in the near future, both requesting seating along the Calle. He said the artisans also voiced a desire for additional space in that area and across the creek. Rosenthal questioned whether donations to the Parks Foundation (earmarked for Lithia Park) could be used for repaving the Calle. Robertson reported that the Parks Foundation gifts up to 5% of annual revenues for worthy recipients but 2008 investments had not grown due to the struggling economy. He said the Parks Foundation might be a funding source in future years. Eggers requested the removal of restaurant tables and chairs during the off-season and suggested retaining the public space across the creek as an area free of artisan booths or vendors. Noraas referenced a Bandon walkway where donors received named bricks for funding upgrades.

Public Input

Melissa Jensen, 690 South Mountain, owner of Louie’s Bar and Grill, asked the commission to continue allowing restaurateurs to stack unused tables and chairs along the Calle during the off-season. In light of the faltering economy, rising taxes and rents, high food costs and dwindling clientele, she questioned staff’s request to raise the square footage rate, especially since there was a surplus of revenues over expenses for the Calle program. She was told any surplus funds would assist with maintenance improvements in the area.

William Barchet, 189 Granite Street, said he was involved with the new restaurant soon to occupy the space formerly known as Pipon’s. He said outdoor seating was a critical factor in his involvement and expressed appreciation for the privilege. He said he was not concerned about the rate increase and voiced an interest in meeting with artisans and other restaurant owners to work out details about space usage.

Commissioners thanked staff and agreed to further discuss, at the February regular meeting, the recommendation of a thirty cent increase per square foot.

ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 9:02 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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